Association between deliberate self-harm and coping in adolescents: a critical review of the last 10 years' literature

Arch Suicide Res. 2013;17(2):91-105. doi: 10.1080/13811118.2013.776439.


Coping is commonly associated with deliberate self-harm (DSH) in adolescents. This article reviews the published literature from 2000 to 2010, aiming to highlight the current evidence supporting this association. Eighteen studies met the inclusion criteria, a total sample of 24,702 subjects was obtained and 17% were DSH cases. Emotion-focused coping style and in particular avoidant coping strategies have consistently been associated with DSH in adolescents. Problem-focused coping style seems to have a negative relation. Most studies were cross-sectional, which seriously limits our conclusions on causality. There is a clear need for more systematic studies, performed in accordance with consensual methodology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Quality of Life*
  • Self Concept*
  • Self-Injurious Behavior / prevention & control
  • Self-Injurious Behavior / psychology*
  • Severity of Illness Index*